Barre’s historic Socialist Labor Party Hall may be closed due to Covid-19, but the Barre Historical Society will still celebrate Primo Maggio 2020 (May Day) with the launching of its first oral history project on the website.
The BHS had planned to hold a public event at the Labor Hall as part of its annual Primo Maggio celebration to launch the site. “We still plan to hold an event for Tom’s family, friends, and the public after the Hall can re-open,” says BHS President Ruth Ruttenberg. “For now, the soft launch will help us honor not only Tom Davis but also May Day, as the Hall’s granite worker founders did with the first Primo Maggio celebration in 1901.”
To enjoy virtual Primo Maggio 2020, all you need is a glass of wine or grappa and a plate of antipasti and a computer, tablet, or smartphone to sit back and enjoy the history of Barre, Vermont, and the nation as it was lived.
“Thomas C. Davis: A Life in Vermont” is a tribute to the Barre-born former Vermont Secretary of Human Services, long-time public servant, and BHS board member, who died in 2017.
You can choose from 18 audio segments drawn from 25 hours of recorded interviews conducted by site producer BHS Board Member Mark Greenberg from 2013 to 2015 along with family and historic photographs, a brief biography, and Greenberg’s introduction to the project.
Topics range from family history, to reminiscences of Barre, baseball, politicians, and public service. Along with personal memories, Davis reflects on Vermont’s transformation from a largely rural and Republican state to a more cosmopolitan and Democratic one.
Davis was widely admired for his wit, humility, wisdom, and generosity. As you will hear, he was also an engaging and thoughtful story-teller.
As with all Old Labor Hall website, the Davis oral history is free to the public, though donations to the Hall, which has suffered a significant loss of rental income due to Covid-19, are always welcome.